Sunday, February 10, 2008

What have you done, Senator Clinton?

You claim you are the experienced candidate in your party. You claim you are ready to be president from day 1. But what is there in your record to demonstrate that?

In your adult life, you spent a few years working as a junior attorney for Congressional committees. Good entry job, at the public trough, of course. Then you were a politician's wife as he lost a run for US Representative, won a two year term as state attorney general, then was governor for 12 of the next 14 years. During that time you served on different corporate boards (Wal-Mart most noticeably), and did varous things for that Little Rock law firm. But we see nothing in the record that you had substantive positions on matters of public policy or administration. There was something about you and education in Arkansas, but it's all kind of fuzzy, and sounds like you really didn't do much of anything.

During the eight years your husband served as president, you were in charge of that task force on changing the nation's health care system. Nothing ever came of that--even though you had the White House and a Democratic congress--because rather than promote changes people wanted and could approve, you went off on a tangent of government managed health care that was a long step toward socialism. We rejected that, and then we heard very little of you for the next years, as your husband realized the smart thing to do was not have you involved in policy issues. Maybe you spent those years in the White House kitchen baking cookies.

In all this time, the one real accomplishment you had was holding your marriage together, while your philandering husband made sport of you and most of the women he met. For this we say, "Well done."

Then comes your seven years as a carpet-bagging senator from New York. What have you accomplished during this time? I can think of no legislation that bears your name. I can think of no particular legislative initiatives you pushed that were rejected. It seems about all you did was struggle with a war vote that now haunts you. If our health care system is so screwed up, why didn't you introduce legislation, hold hearings, jump up and down from your bully pulpit until people listened? Same with all the other issues you are now touting in your campaign.

It's been said that, as junior senator in your party, which was the minority party for four of those seven years, you were not in a position to set the legislative agenda. I see a smidgeon of truth in that, but that's not the whole story. It seems to me you were holding these issues in abeyance until you ran for president, so you would have them to run on. You don't really care about the uninsured, because if you did you would have used your position and considerable influence to do something to help them--you just want them as an issue for your presidential campaign.

Or, if you claim the timing wasn't right, the wrong president wouldn't sign it (a bill reforming health care), etc. I would suggest you look at the likely Republican nominee, Senator McCain. He has his name on several pieces of signature legislation. He has been successful in setting a political and legislative agenda--sometimes in the face of opposition in his own party, he has been putting together coalitions of strange bedfellows, he has been using his expertise in working with the president on military issues, all to do what he thinks is right, to accomplish something good. Even in those years when his party was in the minority, he never backed down from achieving what he thought of as good relative to all those issues. Many in his own party now quesiton his fitness to be president based on some of those issues. But like him or not, he is a perfect example of what you are not and possibly never will be: a do-er.

Your party is rejecting you, Senator Clinton, not so much for your negatives, your shrillness, and your husband. They realize you are a do-nothing person, who talks a good game but who isn't ready to lead. Your approach to your do-nothing Senate years may have been shrewd politics, but it is obvious to all it will lead to bad governing.

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